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Motorola Xoom WiFi 32GB Review

By on May 23, 2011
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Does the Xoom zoom over the iPad?

Good: Honeycomb has lots of potential, fast hardware, solid construction
Bad: Big and heavy for single handed use, OS needs to mature
Price: AED 2699
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

When I get a new gadget, I want to use it right away. I don’t want to go home to activate it using iTunes and then transfer my apps to it. And generally, I setup my email account as one of the first things on my tablet. Thus, I don’t want to be tied down by only owning a particular brand of Smartphone in order to get my email to my tablet. Yes, those two jabs are intentionally taken on Apple and RIM’s tablet offerings. However, no device is perfect and we find out in our review of Motorola’s Xoom on what works and doesn’t on this first Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet.

I received the Wi-Fi version of Xoom from Motorola last week which is the one that has been launched in the region for AED 2699-. The 3G version is planned but there is no specific launch date or pricing on it yet.

From a hardware perspective, the Motorola Xoom has all the bells and whistles that you expect from a modern tablet. It’s powered by the Dual Core 1GHz based NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC along with 1GB DDR2 RAM and 32GB storage for all your apps, data and media. On the connectivity side you have support for 802.11b/g/n WiFi as well as Bluetooth 2.1 along with USB 2.0, HDMI and a MicroSD slot that is not functional yet. Finally, Motorola has equipped the Xoom with all kinds of sensors such as a proximity sensor, light sensor, a barometer and a gyroscope. Needless to say, Motorola has gone all out with the specs on the Xoom.

The design and construction quality of the Motorola Xoom are also top notch. Measuring 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm and weighing 708g, the Xoom feels a bit big and heavy if you are carrying it on one hand. To give you a comparison, the iPad 2 weighs 601g and has a thickness of 8.8mm making it more manageable but not quite as portable as the 7” BlackBerry PlayBook or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Like most tablets, the Xoom has a full glass panel on the front. The bezel around the screen is thinner than the iPad which looks great, however, I noticed my daughter continuously kept tapping the edges of the screen accidentally. I didn’t face this issue but I just wanted to point it out for people that might be sharing the tablet with their kids. The screen itself tends to prefer a lower brightness level than most would like, however, that is easily adjustable by manually over-riding the auto brightness setting. Xoom’s higher 160ppi than the iPad’s 132ppi is definitely noticeable with everything on the screen appearing less pixelated.

There are no physical buttons on the front of the Xoom, however, you do have a 2MP forward facing camera along with a 5MP camera with a flash on the back that is also capable of recording 720p video. The quality of pictures from the back camera is strictly ok- better than the iPad 2 but that’s not saying much. Let me add that I don’t necessarily think a back camera on a 10 inch tablet will be used much by any one.

On the sides, you have volume buttons and a microSD slot along with a headphone jack while the bottom has a power connector, a micro USB port and HDMI output. The power button as well as a pair of speakers are also present on the back- both of which seem out of place and I’ll tell you why- I had to lift the Xoom every time it would go on standby while it was lying flat on a table. And for the speakers, even though the quality is decent, the sound gets muffled when rested on a surface. Motorola should have dispersed the output from the speakers through the sides instead.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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